Band Director Explains Why Teachers Are Quitting at a Rapid Rate (Hint: It’s Not Because of Pay)

“The system doesn’t work, and we are failing them (the students), and the teachers… We are failing teachers too.” This is according to a TikTok video from @teresakayenewman, which went viral, racking up more than 8.8 million views and 800K likes since it was published in April.

The video starts with the teacher admitting to TikTok that teachers aren’t leaving because of teacher pay. “Even if every teacher in the state of Texas got a $10,000 raise per year, we would still be dealing with some of the same issues that we’re dealing with right now.”


♬ Dream Away – Ramol

A Long List of Behavioral Problems

The band director proceeded to list what she had dealt with in the last 48 hours.

“I broke up an assault in my band room. Not a fight, an assault,” she said. “A kid punching another kid in the head, at least four or five times.”

Another student decided to “get creative” by removing the string from every French horn, “making them unplayable.”

After eagerly anticipating the arrival of a drumset all year, the teacher set up the station for her percussionist, only to have the hi-hat broken by another student within a day.

The teacher had also dealt with students stealing and using instruments that weren’t theirs, even taking them from other people’s lockers.

One student hit another in the face because they blew their trumpet too close “in their direction.”

She had another student in the same class flipping her off and trying to lie about it.

The teacher acknowledges that this is her job and is something she has to deal with, which she understands. However, the band students are known for having the best behavior: “the best acting, well-behaved students on campus,” yet she still has to “deal with this garbage every single day.”

The Real Problem?

The teacher ends the video by admitting that the real issue here is not money, admin, or parents. “It is an emotional dysregulation problem,” she said.

As a teacher with thirteen years of experience, she has never faced such problems until now. “I have repeated myself so many times this year. I have posted on the wall. I have given them lectures. I’ve written them up. I’ve failed them,” she said.

The disciplinary measures that teachers previously used in the classroom are no longer effective. The teacher is still facing issues with students damaging property and not respecting boundaries.

“These kids do not care if they fail,” the teacher admitted. “The only thing they care about is how they will be entertained in the next five minutes of their life.”

The teacher is not looking to blame technology, admitting that she uses technology all the time in her classes. However, “It’s as if some of these kids have literally given up on life,” the teacher’s voice trembled. “It’s like they’ve given up on doing anything special. And they’re 12.”

The teacher felt like she had been running in circles all year and admitted to feeling “beaten, abused, and tired.”

Read More: 11-Year-Old Speaks Out About “Pornographic” Book At Middle School Library

Reactions From Users on TikTok

The video has sparked a wave of online discussion around the struggles teachers face when dealing with behavioral issues and lack of support.

“You were one of my favorite teachers!” one person commented on the video. “I always was so happy to see you every day. I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this!”

“Before you said it, I was thinking that if the band kids are a problem, we’re in trouble,” another person replied.

“I disagree with a tiny bit of this. Parents… it does start at home, and it takes parents defending the good teacher,” another responded.

“You nailed it, though. It’s a loss of hope,” one person said. “I’ve asked kids why they are anxious, and they literally said, ‘We’re going to die soon anyway.’ What?”

Many people shared their own stories and offered words of encouragement to the teacher in the video, thanking her for her hard work and dedication to educating the children.

This article The System Doesn’t Work, and We Are Failing The Students was produced and syndicated by TPR Teaching.


Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.

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Alistair McLeod
Alistair McLeod
5 months ago

Your candidness and dedication are truly inspiring, and it’s heartbreaking to hear of the difficulties you’re enduring. As a society, we have to remember that our teachers are not just educators, but they’re also often the front line for addressing behavioral and social issues that extend far beyond the classroom. Your strength in the face of these challenges shines through, and I believe that your experiences will catalyze a larger conversation about how we can better support teachers and students alike. Remember, you are seen, you are appreciated, and your voice is making a difference. Don’t lose hope, because your commitment to education is the light that will guide us through this challenging time. You’re not failing the students, our system is. Let’s work together to fix it.